Sunday, 16 September 2012

Enter 'The Indie Generation'

As I recall, the game that started it all.
A few days ago I signed up to Indie Game Stand, a new indie game promotional website geared towards helping indie developers gaining exposure to gamers, and towards gamers gaining exposure to indie games. The idea behind the site is similar to the Humble Indie Bundle in the way that games are purchased in a pay-what-you-want fashion and are downloadable, DRM-free. The difference with Indie Game Stand is that they will have a different indie game available under said promotion for a period of four days, with the game on offer alternating every four days.

The advantages of this model, as far as I can see, is that obscure indie games can be showcased for four days while customers pay whatever they like for it, with the majority of the money going directly into the developers' pockets. This model has proved successful for those involved in the Humble Indie Bundles as most customer's are more than happy to pay a little extra for DRM-free games distributed in this way and the fact that customers can pay as little as $0.01 fends off piracy.

Humble Indie Bundle, while being the most well-known bundler of indie games, isn't the only organisation to do it with sites such as Indie Gala and Indie Royale offering similar deals. Now Indie Game Stand hopes to join the ranks, a move I openly welcome. Thanks to the original few Humble Indie Bundles I would have never have been exposed to games such as VVVVVV, Atom Zombie Smasher and Osmos, which are now up there with my all time favourite games.

My personal interest in indie gaming is the revival of challenging 2D platforming. To me, these kinds of game died when the Nintendo DS came out, pushing the GameBoy Advance into obsolescence. Games by bigger developers have tried to fill the gap with special attention being given to Capcom's Mega Man 9 & 10, Hard Crops Uprising and Bionic Commando Rearmed. However all four of these Capcom games are sequels, rehashing ideas that worked in the past to make something that seems new. Indie games such as Super Meat Boy, the aforementioned VVVVVV, Fez and the recently released Dust: An Elysian Tail has taken the core elements of 2D platforming and made something that is genuinely new.

The excitement of 'What will they think of next?' with regards to indie gaming strikes a chord with my nostalgia. I am after all a retro gamer and spend a large proportion of my gaming time playing 16-bit, 2D platforming classics; the genre and period of time mostly acting as inspiration to budding indie developers.

I look forward to the new indie gaming experiences I will have as a result of the Indie Game Stand, and suggest to gamers of all types to check it out. As the prices of AAA console titles increases, with the potential of them to increase further in the impeding 8th console generation, gamers like myself without a sizeable income will be forced to look into cheaper alternatives. Enter the 'Indie Generation' of gaming.


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